Williams and Dunn dominate Northern Southland
By Jonny Turner, Harness News Desk
Northern Southland Cup day turned in to the Tim Williams show when the reinsman took out three of its four feature races on Saturday.
Williams guided All Stars filly Tailored Elegance to win the Southland Trotting Oaks before Henry Hubert turned the group 3 Northern Southland Cup in to a one horse race.
The reinsman sealed a big day in the sulky by plotting a perfect path for Pres The Belle to win the group 3 Southern Lights Trot.
Henry Hubert produced the easiest and most impressive win among Williams’ Ascot Park treble when going to the line untouched to street his rivals by more than four lengths in the Northern Southland Cup.
The 5yr-old made a brilliant beginning from his 10m handicap in the 2700m feature and Williams was not going to let it go to waste.
“I think that was the key to it, he made a brilliant beginning,” the driver said.
“Credit to the horse – he really pinged away well.”
“And once we were in front of half of the field I really wanted to take luck out of it and lead.”
“He felt great the whole way.”
Williams did not even have to lean forward to pull the cord for the 5yr-old’s removable hood as he reeled off a sizzling 54.7sec last 800m and 26.0sec last 400m.
The Dunn stable produced quinella in the Northern Southland Cup when Classie Brigade ran in to second, ahead of Vintage Cheddar.
Williams again produced an excellent drive in Dunn’s colours to guide Pres The Belle to victory in the group 3 Southern Lights Trot.
A patient steer from Williams, combined with some aggressive driving ahead of him, saw Pres The Belle work in to the one-one in the final lap of the 2700m feature from her 30m handicap without having made a move around the field.
That scenario meant the 6yr-old had plenty in reserve before the home turn and she did not let the opportunity go to waste when powering away from her rivals to win by three and a half lengths.
Pres The Belle smashed the Ascot Park 2700m track record with her winning time of 3-24.0.
Her new mark took a 2.3sec off the previous all comers record, held my Monty Python, who ran seventh in Saturday’s race.
Pres The Belle’s victory finished an epic 28 hours for Robert Dunn.
The inter-island trainer scored three victories at Westport on Friday and two at Alexandra Park later the same day.
Williams drove two of Dunn’s Westport winners and picked up another victory there.
The reinsman scored one of the narrowest of his run of victories when Tailored Elegance won the Southland Trotting Oaks on Saturday.
Sitting parked was not enough to stop the 3yr-old from nosing out Vacation Hill in an exciting finish to the 2200m feature.
Tailored Elegance was off her game two starts ago when seventh in the Hambletonian, before running second to Southland Trotting Oaks favourite Chloe Rose at Addington last week.
The Muscle Hill filly blew away any concerns about whether she may have been below her best with her fighting victory on Saturday.
“She was back to her old self, maybe not being in the early burn suited her,” Williams said.
“We were able to creep in to the race in the middle stages and when I asked her at the top of the straight she really kicked.”
Tailored Elegance also smashed an Ascot Park track record when winning in a time of 2-44.2.
The trotter took a massive 3.7sec off the previous 2200m mobile record for 3yr-old fillies, held by Luby Lou.
The connections of runner-up Vacation Hill were left wondering what might have been when their filly went down by just a nose margin when pulling a flat tyre in the straight.